A gun blast. Everyone jumped. Startled birds flew in all directions.
Two minutes' silence began.
One hundred years have passed since the Armistice. So many lives lost.
We were there in numbers to remember them.
A young boy in a Spiderman bobble hat sat on the shoulders of his father - just as our lives are built on their past. We shared hope and prayers that his generation will never know the devastation of a world war.
Two minutes up. Another blast. Car alarms and barking dogs. Ricochets of other blasts in the distance. Still no comparison to the sounds of war in the trenches.
Poppies everywhere: the symbol of remembrance and hope. Such a delicate and resilient, brilliant red flower. One of two pioneers that were the first to grow on the devastated battlefields. The inspiration for a famous poem:
In Flanders’ fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below
In Flanders' Fields (written 3 May 1915)
by John McCrae (1872-1918)
Its author lies buried in France. Surprisingly, it was a French woman, Anna Guérin, who brought the poppy to England as a symbol of remembrance.
In France, they have the Bleuet for remembrance: the cornflower. It too continued to grow. Its bright blue is the colour of today’s sky.
We remembered them. We will go on remembering them.